The Emerald Atlas

John Stephens, Knopf, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-375-86870-2
This promising first volume in debut author Stephens's Books of Beginning trilogy concerns siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma, who, when very young, were taken from their parents to protect them from unspecified forces of darkness. They have since spent 10 years in a series of unpleasant orphanages; the last of these—which, oddly enough, houses no children but themselves—is run by the eccentric Dr. Pym. While exploring their palatial yet decrepit new home tucked away in the Adirondacks, the children discover a magical green book, which transports them into the recent past. There they do battle with a beautiful witch who has terrorized and enslaved the local people in her unsuccessful search for the very book the children possess. Adventures follow, featuring murderous zombielike Screechers, time travel paradoxes, and multiple revelations about Dr. Pym. If Stephens's characterizations sometimes dip into cliché (grumpy, Scottish-ish dwarves; noble/heroic natives; an effete evil assistant), few will mind. This fast-paced, fully imagined fantasy is by turns frightening and funny, and the siblings are well-crafted and empathetic heroes. Highly enjoyable, it should find many readers. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-375-87271-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61707-314-4
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-0-307-87976-9
Library Binding - 432 pages - 978-0-375-96870-9
Open Ebook - 230 pages - 978-0-375-89955-3
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4464-5201-1
Prebound-Glued - 417 pages - 978-0-606-26407-5
Hardcover - 417 pages - 978-0-85753-018-9
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-85753-019-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-87979-0
Paperback - 417 pages - 978-0-552-56402-1
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